Students on our third year Modern and Contemporary American Literature module will be speeding into the new semester via an exploration of Jack Kerouac’s classic work of Beat literature On the Road. Legend has it that the author typed the book on a continuous sheet of typewriter paper stuck together so he would not have to pause in the composition of his ‘spontaneous prose’. Here’s an example from the book:
the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live with, mad to talk, made to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…
Here’s a quick look back to 2017, when students on our 19th Century American Literature module had the chance to visit the American Museum near Bath. The texts we’d covered at that point included Native American Literature and short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne, so it was great to see some Native American weaving and beadwork, as well as a tavern from Massachusetts that had been reconstructed in the museum’s basement (complete with an open fire and beds to sleep three). There were also some parallels that could be drawn between the museum’s folk art collection and the ‘folk’ aspects of Hawthorne’s short story ‘Young Goodman Brown’ that we’d been studying. In addition to the displays and exhibits relating to the 19th century and earlier, we saw an exhibition of elegant Jazz Age dresses and photographs which was great for those students planning to take our 20th century American literature module next year!
The Laura Brereton Prize is awarded annually to an English Literature student who made an outstanding contribution to the course. Loz Apperley, BA Hons English Literature and Creative Writing (Class of 2017), is this year’s recipient. Dr Paul Innes presented Loz with the prize at the School of Liberal and Performing Arts’s Graduation tea and prizegiving in the Chapel, Francis Close Hall. Many congratulations, Loz; we’re extremely proud of you.
Class of 2017, we salute you. Every one of you made a unique contribution to English at the University of Gloucestershire. We wish you every success for the future. And please stay in touch by joining our Facebook group, following us on Twitter @EnglishGlos, or better yet, come back and visit us.
Students and staff from across the School went to see Aphra Behn’s great Restoration play The Rover at the RSC Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, last Wednesday. Second-year English Literature student Anne Johnston reviews the play below. The photo is courtesy of Aman Atwal, who took some great photos for our gallery. Our thanks to both students.
On a cold night in February a small group ventured out to Stratford Upon Avon to see the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Rover written by Aphra Benn, England’s first female professional playwright, and directed by Loveday Ingram. As soon as we took our seats we were transported to ‘the fast and furious world of the South American carnival’. While the play is originally set in Naples, Ingram and stage designer Lez Brotherston decided to set the play in a South American port city. This allowed them to use a South American style of music, composed by Grant Olding, which sets the atmosphere and keeps it going throughout the production. The frenzied carnival atmosphere was constantly present, sometimes in the forefront of the production with a flourish of petticoats and rhythmic dances. And sometimes quietly in the background, with a single saxophone humming in the wings – but always present, reminding the audience of the setting as well as keeping the tone of the production at a fun, sensual level. The play follows three English cavaliers who cross paths with three young women running from an arranged marriage, life in a convent and a controlling brother. This Restoration comedy is fantastically witty and full of adventure. It’s about sex, deception and varying types of love. All hilariously intertwined and culminating in an uplifting happily ever after ending – assuming all the marriages end well!
Photos are reproduced for educational purposes only.
To commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, and to meditate on the question of how life can go on in the face of annihilation, here is a song from the Łódź ghetto. You can hear a recording at Music and the Holocaust.
Close Your Eyes
Lyrics: Isaiah Shpigl
Melody: David Beyglman
Close your little eyes,
Little birds are coming,
The head of your cradle.
Baggage in hand
Our home in ashes
We are setting out, my child
In search of luck.
God has closed off the world
And night is all around
Waiting for us,
Full of horror and fear.
The two of us stand here
In this difficult, difficult, moment
Not knowing where
The road leads.
Naked and bare
We were chased from our home
Driven into the fields;
And storm, hail and wind
Have accompanied us, my child
Accompanied us into
The abyss of the world.
Translation from Yiddish
Happy New Year, and welcome back. We hope that you had a great and restorative Christmas break, trust you are rested and ready for semester two.
Next week is Future Plan Week (23 – 27 January) and there are so many opportunities to develop skills, find some new ones, and be inspired. Thirty-four events are scheduled. Here are just a few to whet your appetite:
Log in through the Future Plan Portal for full details. Follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/futureplan.glos.ac.uk.
More news: the call for Student Ambassadors has gone out this week. Student Ambassadors play an essential role in University life, assisting at events, representing their courses at Open Days by talking to prospective students and their parents, and much more. It’s a rewarding job for current students, not only financially (you can earn up to £9.38 an hour), but more importantly in terms of the skills and experience that you’ll gain to help your future career, and which count towards your Gloucestershire Employability Award.
The role is suitable for students in levels 4-5. If you want to apply, or just want to learn more, go to the Future Plan Portal.
The Class of 2016 English Language and Linguistics students graduated on the 24th of November at the Cheltenham Racecourse. Despite the cold, everyone was very excited to be there. Hats flew into the air, and people caught up with each other’s news. Congratulations to Shannon O’Connor-Churchill on being awarded the English Language prize!
Arran Stibbe has published a teaching ‘story’, Living in the Weather-World: reconnection as a path to sustainability, as part of a European Union funded Erasmus+ programme. The story uses ecolinguistics, ecocriticism, photography and embodied experience to encourage students to reconnect with the natural world around them. A third year English Language student, Jessica Iubini-Hampton, co-authored an Italian version of the story, and it will also be translated into Turkish and Slovenian. It can be downloaded here: https://intheweatherworld.wordpress.com/publications
The University of Gloucestershire Special Collections and Archives is launching the Dymock Poets Online Catalogue. Several years in preparation, this database makes the Archives Dymock holdings accessible for the first time and is a tremendous research resource. To celebrate, the UoGSCA is hosting an evening of poetry and seasonal goodies. Students will read poems and there’ll be a chance to hear about our longstanding ties with the Dymock Poets.
For more details, click here, or email Louise Hughes, Principal Library Advisor (Archives) at email@example.com
Thursday 1 December
6:00 – 7:30 pm
Francis Close Hall (QU024)
Everyone is welcome